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Katrina Vandenberg is the author of two books of poems, The Alphabet Not Unlike the World and Atlas, and co-author of the chapbook On Marriage. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, The American Scholar, Orion, Post Road, Poets and Writers, and other magazines. She has received fellowships from the McKnight, Bush, and Fulbright Foundations; been a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference; and held residencies at the Amy Clampitt House, the Poetry Center of Chicago, and the MacDowell Colony. She is the poetry editor of Water~Stone Review and a professor in The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
A longer version of Katrina’s biography can be found on the FAQ page of this site.
“Every poet knows that etymology matters, that a word activates in each new use all of its prior usage, but seldom is attention given to the layer beneath: that on each new inscription a letter inscribes all of its past usage. Katrina Vandenberg’s The Alphabet Not Unlike the World digs down into that layer, fulfilling and extending the abecedarian tradition exemplified by Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping with the Dictionary and Susan Stewart’s Columbarium. Vandenberg recognizes the alphabet as a site where the global and the local join, where history becomes the present moment, where history has moment, is momentous. In these poems, “seeing is not the same / as seeing through,” but both occur, guided by the double recognition of the alphabet as both medium and message. These poems live near enough to “the house of the unsaid” that when in one of them the first person invites the second to “tell me if you want me to stop,” a reader may say, as I did out loud, Not yet. Please, not yet.” — H. L. Hix
[ Photo credit: Joanna Eldredge Morrisey ]
“A deeply confident, compelling voice. . . . Passionate with a keen sense of surprise, these poems are funny, serious, and wise all at once. Bravo.”
— Naomi Shihab Nye
“I had meant to read a few poems, then return to the book another time. Two hours later I put it down, shaken and exhilarated. It careens between heartbreak and breakthrough in ways that began by amazing me and finished by moving me to the point where I had no choice but to agree when Vandenberg writes in the book’s last poem, “You can’t, in the end/close the book”.” — Jim Moore